An industrial site of enormous machine-like buildings with exposed pipes. A woman holding up two pieces of meat announces: “This is veal!” She stuffs the veal into her ballet slippers — they dangle out like tongues — and dances en pointe around the vacant space.
This is one of the many amazing performances invented by Pina Bausch — she died suddenly before this film was completed — as documented by Wim Wenders in his rivetting 3D film, Pina. The sequence is unforgettable. But what was it about? Thinking: meat . . . meat tenderised . . . pulverised . . . ballet, en pointe . . . feet pounded into the ground . . . traditional married to radical, shock, strangeness . . . illusion of lightness, art’s illusion . . . beauty born of pain . . . standing at an odd angle to the universe, the world looks weird*.
Seeing all these slivers of Pina’s imagination made flesh prompts this thought about the creative** impulse:
N O T H I N G isF OR BIDD EN.
*E. M. Forster’s famous phrase distinguishing the poet Cavafy from his contemporaries: he stood “at a slight angle to the universe.”
** creative, not destructive. But, and yes, as Walter Benjamin said: ‘There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.’